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Bal Tigrah

This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.

There is a negative mitzvah in the Torah not to subtract from the mitzvot of the Torah as it says in the pasuk "אֵת כָּל־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם אֹתוֹ תִשְׁמְרוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת לֹא־תֹסֵף עָלָיו וְלֹא תִגְרַע מִמֶּנּוּ".[1]

Nature of the Prohibition

  1. Some understand this mitzvah to mean that if a person fails to fulfill any mitzvah, in addition to violating the actual mitzvah, he also violates Bal Tigrah.[2] Others argue that it is only if a person has intent to uproot the mitzvah completely.[3]
  2. Some understand this mitzvah to mean that it is prohibited to fulfill a mitzvah in detracted manner. [4]
    1. For example, fulfill the mitzvah of Daled Minim with only three of the four minim, or fulfilling tzitzit with less than 8 strings is an issue of Bal Tigrah.[5]
    2. Some say that an example of this is fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit without techelet strings.[6]

Sources

  1. Devarim 13:1, Rambam (Sefer HaMtizvot n. 314), Sefer HaChinuch 455
  2. Turei Even (Rosh Hashana 16b) in explanation of the Rashba
  3. Sfat Emet (Rosh Hashana 28b)
  4. Turei Even (Rosh Hashana 16b) in his own opinion, Bet HaLevi 1:42
  5. Sifrei Devarim 13:1
  6. Rav Hershel Schachter in Ginat Egoz 2:4